The beautiful German word Kalkmagerrasen means a calcareous low-nutrient meadow. Low nutrients implies few trees and shrubs, few weeds, but also some rare plants that had no chance to compete elsewhere. Among them are wild orchids, quite different form the ones I was familiar with before.
The plants are between 20 and 40 cm tall, and show an enormous amount of detail. I took these pictures in 1997 in the Eiffel, using a flash. There wasn’t much choice, given wind and otherwise restricted means. This makes everything look artificial, which might well be ok.
The names Knabenkraut and Ragwurz tell from times when imagination played a more important role than in our prefabricated days.
Some of the shapes of the flowers are said to resemble the bodies of the insects they are trying to attract.
That we, instead, see in them hangmen, is, of course, just telling something about us. Phew.